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Risk, Environment and Modernity
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Risk, Environment and Modernity
Towards a New Ecology



© 1996 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Environmental and risk issues are symptomatic of deep-seated social and cultural tensions and transformations in the fabric of contemporary societies. This major contribution to the study of risk, ecology, and the place of social theory in making sense of the environment helps us to understand the politics of ecology and the place of social theory in making sense of environmental issues. The book provides insights into the complex dynamics of change in so-called risk societies. In this volume, the issues of risk and environment are explored at three levels. The contributors offer a critical assessment of dominant institutional ways of thinking and talking about risk and counterpose these with more open, self-critical approaches. They explore individuals' sense of risk and its expression in collective insecurities and they show how political thinking and debate on risk and environmentalism has been, and can further be, transformed. Wide-ranging and accessible, Risk, Environment & Modernity contains contributions from leading scholars, including Ulrich Beck, author of Risk Society. It will rapidly establish itself as the key text in the field and will be required reading by students of sociology, political science, geography, and environmental studies. "This is the strongest edited collection on the relationship between modernity, risk and the environment to be published to date and it deserves a place on the book shelf of every one who takes these issues seriously. Perhaps more importantly this book needs to be read by everyone who thinks that existing responses will ultimately 'solve the environmental problem.' The editors present the collection as a slow manifesto capable of transforming the reductionism and realism they see dominating both natural and social scientific approaches to the environment. In twelve essays, organized into three sections, considerable progress is made toward this ambitious goal. . . . This is a book with an important message one can only hope that it is read and widely debated." --a prepublication review in Environmental Politics
Bronislaw Szerszynski, Scott Lash and Brian Wynne
Introduction
Ecology, Realism and the Social Sciences  
 
PART ONE: ENVIRONMENT, KNOWLEDGE AND INDETERMINACY: BEYOND MODERNIST ECOLOGY?
Ulrich Beck
Risk Society and Provident State
Brian Wynne
May the Sheep Safely Graze? A Reflexive View of the Expert-Lay Knowledge Divide
Barbara Adam
Re-vision
The Centrality of Time for an Ecological Social Sciences Perspective  
Bronislaw Szerszynski
On Knowing What to Do
Environmentalism and the Modern Problematic  
 
PART TWO: RISK AND THE SELF: ENCOUNTERS AND RESPONSES
Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim
Life as a Planning Project
Marco Diani
Individualization at Work
Occupational Identity and Office Automation  
John Maguire
The Tears inside the Stone
Reflections on the Ecology of Fear  
Helmuth Berking
Solitary Individualization
The Moral Impact of Cultural Modernization in Late Modernity  
 
PART THREE: THE POLITICS OF THE ENVIRONMENT: EXHAUSTION OR RENEWAL?
Klaus Eder
The Institutionalization of Environmentalism
Ecological Discourse and the Second Transformation of the Public Sphere  
Andrew Jamison
The Shaping of the Global Environmental Agenda
The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations  
Maarten A Hajer
Ecological Modernization as Cultural Politics
Robin Grove-White
Environmental Knowledge and Public Policy Needs
On Humanising the Research Agenda  

`This is the strongest edited collection on the relationship between modernity, risk and the environment to be published to date and it deserves a place on the book shelf of every one who takes these issues seriously. Perhaps more importantly this book needs to be read by everyone who thinks that existing responses will ultimately "solve the environmental problem". The editors present the collection as a "slow manifesto" capable of transforming the reductionism and realism they see dominating both natural and social scientific approaches to the environment. In twelve essays, organised into three sections, considerable progress is made towards this ambitious goal. The terrain transversed in the process is intellectually stimulating and demanding but amongst it lie some of the clearest renditions of complex positions currently available.... the overall standard is so consistently high. The reader is provided with an extremely lucid and coherent guide to the terrain covered in the introduction... Summarising the overall argument of a book like this in a short review is inevitably hazardous but I would identify three main themes which are sustained throughout. First, there is a central recognition that empiricism can only provide society with data which in and of itself is no guide to action. Second, the production and interpretation of data is seen as inescapably tied to the normative judgements whether these are supplied by a scientific set of interpretative frames or not. Third, all knowledge needs to be seen as bearing the imprint of the social sites involved in its creation and thus inescapably carries moral, ethical and cultural markers and implications. This may sound like familiar and well rehearsed territory but one of the distinguishing features of this book is that these arguments are offered, not as an assault on empiricism and realism, but as an invitation to address an agenda with the potential to transform the normative use of both these terms.... The slow agenda has however, been eloquently reprised here and contains many sign-posts directing the willing towards fruitful avenues of exploration. This is a book with an important message one can only hope that it is read and widely debated' - Environmental Politics

`This book offers a set of interesting and thought-provoking essays discussing the complex relationship between modernity, environmentalism and the emergence of a risk society... It offers a wide review of relevant literature and is up to date with recent developments in its related fields. Moreover, it has a clear structure and chapters follow `naturally' so that the reader can follow the thread of the arguments presented' - Sociological Research Online

`This book provides a welcome addition to the literature on environment and modernity by collecting papers from key contributors to the debates together in one volume. The wide-ranging subject matter of the papers in the collection should mean that it appeals to an audience beyond those specifically interested in environmental sociology. In this it represents an important move towards establishing discussion of the environment as central to contemporary sociology, rather than being confined to a marginal field of the discipline' - British Journal of Sociology


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Risk Society and the Provident State


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ISBN: 9780803979383

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